Hubble has a new camera

WASHINGTON, DC – The Hubble Space Telescope now has a new Wide Field Camera, following yesterday’s seven-hour spacewalk by astronauts John Grunsfeld and Drew Feustel.

And today, STS-125 mission specialists Michael Good and Mike Massimino are set to make the second of five servicing spacewalks. At 8:16 am EDT, they are set to replace three rate sensor units and the telescope’s Bay 2 batteries. The spacewalk is expected to last six and a half hours.

The Wide Field Camera 2 was the oldest instrument on the telescope, having kept going since 1993. It is now destined for the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum.

For their first spacewalk of the STS-125 mission, Massimino and Good will spend most of their time replacing the Hubble Space Telescope’s three rate sensing units – probably the most important repair job on Hubble. Each unit is part of a rate gyro assembly, which senses vehicle motion and provides rate data to help point the telescope precisely for observations.

After the new rate sensor units are installed, Massimino and Good are scheduled to start replacing batteries, working in the telescope’s Bay 2 to replace the first of two battery modules.

Each module weighs 460 pounds and contains three batteries, providing electrical power during the night. The second battery module will be installed during the fifth and final spacewalk.